Facebook updates trending topic: war on fake news

The social network announces three updates that affect the display of the most popular topics among users

Facebook continues its fight against hoaxes on the Net. The social network has improved, first of all, the system that identifies which topics are to be considered "in trend". Each "hot" topic will also report the name of the publisher, and no longer just the title, while all users in the same geographical area will see the same topics.

The last update on trending topics dates back to August last year. Facebook had focused on users' tastes by allowing to create a sort of customizable list with the most successful posts and hashtags within the social network based on the favorite pages and location of its members. It seems, however, that this strategy has not had the desired effects. Facebook, therefore, backtracks and largely changes its policy on trending topics.

No more false and biased news

The first change concerns the creation of a list of news equal for all members of the same geographical region so that - as Will Cathcart VP and Product Manager of Facebook explains on the official blog of the social network - no one risks losing topics that might interest him closely. The other two updates are related, instead, to publishers and to the aim of eliminating from the platform the much disputed fake news. Facebook, from now on, will show not only the title of the news, but also the editorial source. Sort of an extra push to read posts that really matter. And, ultimately, the social network has also changed the criteria for selecting trending topics to display that - unlike before - will no longer be based on popularity, but on the amount of publishers who publish it. This is obviously not an exact science, but the goal is to drastically reduce unfounded news coming from unreliable publishers, or maybe just less known. All three updates will land on Facebook in the coming weeks in a few countries - the US, UK, Canada, Australia and India - and only for English-language news.